Indiana's own Tony Stewart is recovering from surgery. The three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and will need a second operation to set a broken leg. That is the latest word from his team, Stewart-Haas Racing.
Stewart crashed Monday night in a small town race at the Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa. He was driving sprint car on a quarter-mile dirt track, a world away from the big NASCAR stage.
This afternoon, Stewart-Haas Racing said surgeons cleaned and stabilized the would.
Tony Stewart will need a second operation. That could indicate a a compound fracture, something that could double his recovery time.
Here in Indianapolis, "Momma Smoke", Tony Stewart's mother Pam Boas, said, "I know that God has him in His hands and will help Tony heal quickly to get back to doing what he loves most."
Tony Stewart was in the lead with just five laps to go when a slower car spun out, sending Stewart's sprint car tumbling down the back stretch.
Emergency crews pulled him from a wreck and rushed the three-time NASCAR champion to a local hospital.
Stewart broke both the tibia and fibula, the two bones of the lower leg.
"If he was racing in four weeks, it would not shock me," said Dr. Walter Virkus, an Orthopedic Surgeon at IU Health Methodist Hospital.
That's the best case scenario, the bone broken in the perfect way, broken in the perfect place, fixed properly. But reports from the race team indicate it is a compound fracture. If the breaks aren't in the middle and instead near the joints at ends of the bones, the surgery becomes even more complicated and recovery time longer.
Dr. Virkus explained, "You have to use plates and screws to hold it together and not a rod. Recovery and rehabilitation is completely different."
Stewart could be out of the drivers seat for several months, eliminating any chance of winning a 4th Sprint Cup Championship. He was 11th in the points standing.
NASCAR fan Joy Caskey wasn't entirely surprised. "He's doing what he want to do. He knows the dangers," she said.
Small sprint car dirt tracks are the minor leagues of racing. They are where many drivers start their careers, a world away from the Sprint Cup races that have given Stewart fame and fortune. But the Rushville Rocket, Columbus Comet Smoke won't let go of his roots.
Stewart has been in three sprint car wrecks, three weeks in a row.
Charlie Luper is a Tony Steward fan. "That's the risk they take. Those guys are racers. They want to race every night," he said